Creating Content

“Content is King.” It’s one of the oldest truths about the internet and one of the elements of a high ranking website that is often overlooked or minimized. The fact is good, relevant, focused content is one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm.  And no matter how search engines may evolve in the future, content will always be king. And we’re not just talking about words. We’re talking about pictures, videos, sound, and other interactive elements. Collectively these types of content are called engagement objects because they go beyond the written word with the goal of engaging site visitors.

Relevant Content and Engagement Objects

When creating content, the goal is to achieve high ranking on the search engine results page. To do that you must understand what your potential customers are looking for and more specifically what keywords they are using to find your type of business. It’s the job of the search engines to return results that match your search query as closely as possible. If your content isn’t focused and relevant to what a user is looking for then Google and the other search engines will not consider your page or website a good match for the search query and your page will not appear high on the search results. But wait, there’s more. Relevant content is certainly important but it must also be engaging and interesting, That’s where images, videos and other engagement objects become important. The truth is that no matter how relevant your content is, paragraph after paragraph of words will not hold your reader’s interest and they will abandon your site before they’ve had a chance to explore your entire offering. Having visitors leave your site quickly will negatively affect your bounce rate – that’s the percentage of visitors who leave your site without clicking through to any other pages. Since bounce rate is one of Google’s ranking factors, it is clearly important to make your site visually interesting as well as contextually relevant,

Tone, Style and Voice

tone, style and voiceHow you talk about your product or service offering is important. The best way to determine the appropriate tone, style and voice for your content is to know who your audience is. For example, if your website is intended for academics then it is likely they are used to reading long blocks of text with fewer images so four or five syllable words and long sentences would be appropriate. If, on the other hand, your website is geared toward children, your sentences and words should be short and should be accompanied with engaging images sprinkled throughout the text. Be aware of industry jargon and stay away from it unless you are sure it serves your purpose. If your website is geared toward guitar enthusiasts (there I go with the guitar metaphors again), it’s perfectly okay to use the word “strat” when referring to a Fender Stratocaster guitar. Anyone who has ever picked up an electric guitar knows what a strat is. On the other hand, if you don’t have any experience in the web development world you may not know that SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization or that the acronym SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page.

It’s important to understand the difference between tone, style and voice:

  • Tone – refers to the writer’s attitude toward both her subject and her reader. Are you passionate, ambivalent, indifferent or none of the above?
  • Style – Are you whimsical, serious, breezy, sarcastic, dry
  • Voice – this is unique to you. No one else can write in your voice

How Much Content is Enough?

There is no hard and fast rule here but there are two things worth remembering:

  • Write for humans not search engines and everything else will fall into place
  • Write enough to effectively and completely cover the topic you are writing about.

If you’re writing about vintage guitars for example (my favorite topic by the way), then the term “vintage guitars” should be your focus or primary keyword phrase. You’ll want to use that phrase throughout your page so that Google knows that vintage guitars is what your page is about – and more importantly that anyone using the search term “vintage guitars” finds your page at the top of Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page). And here is where the amount of words on your page is important. How does the following paragraph feel when you read it? Does it feel natural? Conversational?

Looking for a vintage guitar? Bob’s Vintage Guitar emporium is the place to find almost any vintage guitar that a vintage guitar enthusiast might want to add to her vintage guitar collection. After all, vintage guitars is what we do here at Bob’s Vintage Guitar emporium – we sell, service and customize vintage guitars.

The preceding paragraph uses the keyword phrase 8 times but only contains a total of 53 words. This kind of keyword distribution and density will almost surely earn you a penalty for keyword stuffing. If, on the other hand, the 8 instances of the primary keyword phrase were spread out over multiple paragraphs … well you get the point. We’ll help you make sure your keyword to content ratio makes sense to readers and to Google as well.

Why Blogging is Important

Blogging is importantCreating and maintaining a blog on your website is important for several reasons. First of all, it’s an opportunity to speak in your own voice, to be yourself whether that’s whimsical, funny or serious. Secondly, it’s a great way to produce dynamic content, something that Google loves to see and will reward you for. Thirdly, it’s an opportunity to establish your expertise and show your visitors that you stay on top of the latest developments in your industry. This creates trust and confidence. Once people know they can come to your site for good up-to-date information they will return when they need more information about what you sell. Depending on what your subject matter is, don’t be afraid to be controversial. If you can justify your position with well-reasoned arguments, you will generate interest and stimulate conversation. This is a good thing. It’s best to blog on a regular basis so choose a frequency that works for you and stick to it. If you are fortunate enough to establish a following, then you don’t want to disappoint your readers by setting them up to see your blog every week (or month) and then not delivering.